Ark Genesis Part 2 Review: A Bitter Finale

I reviewed Genesis Part 2 on an Xbox Series X. The below screenshots are from a single player game where I had spawned stuff in to show off details of the expansion. So the days and levels don’t line up correctly in them.

You can find a video version of this review here: Ark Genesis Part 2 Review: A Pile of Dinosaur Dung (Survival Game DLC) – YouTube

Overview

This is the kind of review I hate writing the most. I’d rather praise games than crap on them, especially ones that are as dear to me as Ark is. I have more hours into Ark as a whole than any other game. It’s not even close. Heck, I’ve moved on from Genesis 2, but I’m still playing on another map right now.

Yet another Wyvern variant.

Ark has never been a perfect game. It’s buggy, imbalanced, performs terribly, and is outright broken at times. Yet, the things I love about it have always carried it enough for me to look past, or at least tolerate its failings.

Genesis 2 inherits every problem the game has, and takes everything I loved about it, and proceeds to mud stomp it into an unrecognizable pile of crap that vaguely looks like it came from a dinosaur.

Go Go Power Rangers!

Ark is a survival game. Most people who play it, play PVE. This is because the PvP side of the game is brutal, and not the “git gud” kind of brutal. It’s the kind that if you have school, work or need to sleep you lose. People will wipe your base and murder everything you ever loved while you’re offline. In a game where taming a single dinosaur takes several real-life hours, that’s as “fun” as it sounds.

Genesis part one was a major push into a PvE direction that I really loved, so I had high hopes for part 2. It did in fact, continue its renewed focus on PvE, but it didn’t just throw out the baby with the bathwater. It tore out the entire kitchen.

When you spawn in Genesis 2, you will have a special federation tek suit. It has all the functions of a normal tek suit, super speed, superman punching, predator vision modes, and of course, flight. Unlike normal tek suits, it has infinite durability and does not require the rare resource known as element to power.

Starting with an infinite supply of normally late game Iron man suits makes the game dull fast.

This means from the moment you take your first steps into Genesis 2, you have infinite flight, super speed, oxygen, and more. The need for half of the tools and dinosaurs in the game vanishes. Heck, you don’t even need most stats. You are free to pump everything into weight and health because the suit makes up the difference.

With the infinite tek suit, the danger is nearly non-existent since you can super sprint or fly away. Taming has never been easier. Screw prep and planning, just hover above your target and watch it stare, while you pump it full of chloroform and shove its preferred diet up its ass until it loves you.

You no longer need most mounted dinosaurs, you know, the entire selling point of the game. Most of them are inferior to you as soon as you begin playing thanks to the suit. My partner and I chose to play without the suits. Using them got boring very quickly since it crippled the soul of the game, the planning, logistics, resource gathering, and of course, the danger.

The game had other plans. That suit sticks to you like a bad case of herpes. Did you log in? You are now wearing the suit, did you die? You reincarnate into the suit. Fast travel? You arrived suited up. Grab a loot drop? Bam the suit is in your inventory.

How to bring down the mighty king of the dinosaurs? Infinite hover and shoot.

I had to write a special line of code for my private server to get rid of the damn thing, or it badgered me worse than a door-to-door church group. Any time the game spotted me attempting to enjoy the new map, it was like, “Do you have time to talk about our lord and savior Tony Stark? Here’s his suit, get bored and move onto another game already, you filthy heathen”.

Tek Suits were already a thing in Ark. They were end game gear that required very rare and difficult to obtain resources to power them. Having an infinite version of it for free with unlimited durability was so absurd, I initially thought the game was totally bugged when I first started Genesis 2.

It’s like playing with a god mode cheat. (Something else the game also already has). I saw no point in playing like that. So with some tweaking, we ditched the suit and persevered, and I really wish that was as bad as things got.

Balance? Never Heard Of Her

Genesis part 2 adds a bunch of new items and creatures, and honestly, some of them are pretty great quality of life additions. An egg incubator that makes breeding less painful, and an ammo box for easy storage of munitions that also refills turrets if you actually hate yourself and play PvP.

The load-out mannequin is awesome, allowing you to store and switch load-outs for different situations on the fly and the new Tek Bow and Phase Pistol are great. The bow can make several types of arrows locked and ready to fire, and the pistol has modes between stun, heal and kill. There’s a new minigun that eats ammo faster than I eat chicken wings and a surveillance system I really doubt anyone will ever use.

Sadly, like the federation tek suits, little care was given to what was added. There was already an ammo item called a chain bola. It could be used to immobilize large creatures for a short amount of time, it was expensive to make and could only be fired from a Ballista.

Net ammo is cheap and can bring down most creatures in one shot.

Genesis part 2 introduces net projectiles for the harpoon gun! These suckers are super cheap and can immobilize most creatures for one whole minute. Unlike a ballista, you just carry the nets with you. It not only makes several items redundant, but trivializes a lot of planning that went into taming, but also fighting dangerous creatures. Got an alpha Carno outside your base? Net gun that sucker and poke it with a stick for a minute straight until it dies. How exciting….

The new Maewing is a weird platypus creature that can turn on its mutant nipples to feed baby dinos. It’s gross but super useful. It’s also one of the easiest tames to get in the game, so that would have been plenty already, but oh no, not in Genesis 2. Remember how Wildcard has continually fought to balance flyers since they invalidate a lot of danger, they nerfed them and they have made two whole maps that can’t use them?

Well, the Maewing is the fastest and greatest flyer in the whole game. It is able to literally glide the entire span of the Genesis 2 map, which is massive, without landing once. Make it, make sense.

The Maewing can clear the span of the entire map within seconds.

The new Shadowmane is a nightmare to try and tame, but if you do, congratulations, you’re practically invincible now. The new creepy shoulder pet is called Noglin and they can mind control things. If that wasn’t already the royal tits, it also very nearly kills anything it mind controls once it releases it. It’s even able to kill or almost kill wild Giga’s like this. Nothing like making the games most feared predator yeet itself.

The Tek Striders are pretty cool, they each have two random assortments of gear. Some have a radar, or weapons that are very nearly useless since they don’t scale. But the golden goose is one with a mining rig and saddlebags. It can farm resources to a massive degree and has its own bed and transmitter. The combination of rigs range from utterly useless to incredibly broken. I don’t boost the rates on my server and I crashed more than once just from harvesting metal with one.

The Astrodelphis may look like a space dolphin but is actually an X-Wing in disguise. I haven’t really found it to be practical in PvE yet. Then we have the Void Wyrm, a Tek wyvern. We definitely needed another variation of those. Ark surely hasn’t been milking them since their first iteration years ago.

The Exo mek is super useful and can leap literal mountains.

The new Hover Sail is pretty neat, but entirely redundant on Genesis Part 2 since you can fly. The Exo Mek I love. It can store objects, or even pick them up and move them. It can leap mountains and has an insane carry weight.

The Exo Mek also comes with a super rad RTS mode that lets you command your creatures from a top-down view. It’s almost balanced since it burns through element super fast. It’s too bad resources are more common in Genesis part 2 than existential dread on a millennial. Oh, the map, did I mention that yet? I’ll stop beating the dead horse and get to it then.

The balance is a mess. Some additions are massively overpowered while others are nearly redundant. I mean it adds a canoe…. A canoe to a map where you have an infinite iron man suit. What the f—

Copy & Paste Mapping

The map of Genesis 2 is incredibly massive. Too bad it does nearly nothing with it. There are technically four biomes, realistically there are only two. Eden, and Rockwell’s garden make up two halves of the huge landmass. But both biomes are pretty much the same all the way down the length of each.

Eden is Eden, it’s trees and mountains with a bit of water. Rockwell’s garden is cliffs and twisted alien-like plants. It all looks and feels the same, one part of Eden is no different than another part, and likewise for the alien side. A few spawns might vaguely change, but it’s nothing like the difference between a forest and the artic or desert, or volcanic region, or swamp.

Each rectangle is just one biome, it gets repetitive fast.

Resources can be found pretty much everywhere. My base had next-door access to everything aside from element. This brings me to the third “biome” the asteroid ring. The concept is cool. Each day the ship moves, and new asteroids fill the space. Each asteroid has metal and another type of resource. One set has crystal, another has sulfur and one even has element.

It’s definitely the strongest mining spot on any ark map. On any other map, I would need to exercise caution when using my tek gear since I’d burn through element. Fifteen minutes of gathering it in the asteroid field netted me a couple thousand. I required no such caution.

The biggest sin isn’t that the asteroid field exists, it’s that it’s hardly dangerous. Almost no creatures spawn in it, and the few that do, don’t bother you unless you try to sniff their butt. The sole exception being a single void wyrm that can at times interrupt you. But they are rare and pretty easy to dispatch or escape from. There is no danger or risk to obtain the game’s most powerful and rarest resource on Genesis Part 2.

An occasional Void Wyrm isn’t enough to offset the insane amount of resources in the asteroid field.

Beyond that, the standard loot beacons that fall around the map contain exceptionally powerful gear regardless of what kind of color the beacon is. It’s like having deep sea, desert or surface crates just drop like normal. I had tek weapons, ascendant gear and structures such as grinders and incubators within an hour. Infinite flight means you can just go pick up the drops with ease.

The fourth “Biome” is really more of a cave or dungeon, and it’s the only one on the map. Rockwell’s proliferation, basically his gross mutant innards. It holds a rare resource called Mutagen and is where you find the final boss terminal. It’s the only bit of challenge on the whole map, and it’s a pretty short experience. That last boss fight is a final nut kick too. I reviewed the game on an Xbox Series X and the lag and Framerate drops were bad enough to make the whole fight pretty much unplayable, or at least, unenjoyable.

The coolness of some of the terrain features fades when it’s stretched out across the whole map.

It definitely seems that less care went into the map itself since it’s assumed you will be flying and super sprinting around. In the end, ditching the Tek suit was not enough to let me and my partner enjoy the new map. Because the map itself is nothing but a stretched-out copy-paste of two different biomes with very little variety, an abundance of resources and loot everywhere we looked.

Verdict

I don’t like being this brutal, as much as Studio Wildcard vexes me, Ark is unlike anything else with a roster of dinosaurs that is ludicrous. My severe criticism comes from a place of love. I adore Ark. I’m still playing it, and Ark 2 is my most anticipated game. That’s what makes Genesis Part 2 hurt so much. The design decisions that went into it baffle me on a level I never knew was possible, and it makes me very concerned for Ark 2.

It’s not all bad, the mission system from Genesis 1 made a return alongside the hexagon store, and I approve of both. Some of the new items and creatures are great. The exo-suit, for example, will feel far more balanced on a map where Element is still difficult to obtain.

The Noglin is small but mighty when mind controlling a giga.

Yet, aspects of Genesis 2 impact the game as a whole. The net gun, the Maewing, and the Shadowmanes. They all break the balance of the game on other maps and aren’t limited to Genesis Part 2 the same way the infinite tek suit is.

Everything I dislike about Genesis 2 is amplified by the failings the game has always had. The official servers are nearly unplayable; PvP due to the lack of structure and offline raiding, and PvE due to people pillaring the whole map so you can’t build anywhere.

There are bugs, crashes, and glitches, all of which I still experienced. Heck, when I reviewed Genesis 1 over a year ago, wild Raptors and Kentrosaurs were broken. Raptors never used their pounces attack, and Kentros didn’t use their tail. As I review Genesis Part 2, both of them ARE STILL broken.

Every other expansion to the game still gave me that addicting Ark experience. So while the flaws never went away, I still wanted to play. Genesis Part 2 doesn’t feel like Ark, not even a little. It feels like I enabled god mode or some other cheat and just left it on. While that might be interesting for an hour or two, it gets old quickly, and I’m left wanting an actual game to play.

I always return to the other maps at some point, I’ll never return to Genesis 2. I just don’t see the point. I’d like to forget it ever happened, and honestly, I hope Studio Wildcard does too.

You might also enjoy my review of Ark Genesis Part One.

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Pros

  • The mission system and Hexagon store from Genesis Part One return
  • New additions such as load-outs, Incubators, and Ammo Boxes are great quality of life changes
  • Some new items and creatures are cool

Cons

  • You spawn with an infinite tek suit that spits on the very soul of Arks gameplay
  • The map is purely god mode with easily obtained high powered loot and abundant resources
  • Several new additions further shatter Ark’s wobbly balance into a million pieces
  • The map is mostly two biomes stretched out to massive degrees and is very repetitive
  • Resources are overly abundant, no thought or planning is required in Genesis Part 2
  • The bugs, glitches, and performance issues persist
  • The final boss was nearly unplayable on a Series X
  • No caves or dungeons outside of the final boss area